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June 19, 2006

Tart Reads

   You're wondering what books the Tarts currently recommend to tuck into your beach bag, aren't you? We have such diverse tastes, and our summer reads are always a mix of literary masterpieces that--oh, hell, admit it. If you're an author you're hoping your book might be on our lists, right?  And everybody else wants to print out a list to take to the bookstore. So without further ado, here goes:

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Harley reports:  I'm reading thrillers, for my panel at Thrillerfest.  I'm loving the current one:  Robert Ferrigno's PRAYERS FOR THE ASSASSIN.  The coolest book in the world. He's making it into a trilogy--yahoo! Next up: STIFF by Mary Roach.  Not a thriller, but said to be thrilling. And of course, still plugging away at THE ILIAD.

Susan sez.... I'm in the midst of SUGAR SKULL by Denise Hamilton, and I'm loving it! Her protag is a reporter from the LA Times and always pushing the envelope. The dry humor is perfect, and the story (really two deaths that tie together) has me engrossed. I just finished FALSE PROFITS by Patricia Smiley (bought this book and Denise's while signing with them at Lee Booksellers) and that was fun.  Tucker Sinclair is a slightly too-trusting business consultant ripe for trouble. Lots of funny moments. I also really enjoyed THE HALO EFFECT by M.J. Rose and SACRED COWS by Karen Olsen (which I remember reading for the Malice Domestic contest when I was a judge--and I think I sent Karen an encouraging note, or at least I hope I did!) Waiting to be read: THE LOVER by Laura Wilson, OFFICER DOWN by Theresa Schwegel, THE CLOVIS INCIDENT by Pari Taichert, and MURDER LIST by Julie Garwood--among others!

From Nancy:  I was late getting to Susanna Moore's literary erotic thriller, IN THE CUT, but I am so glad my author friend Kathleen George recommended this one to me. Hot, hot, hot, plus exquisite prose--and thrilling right up until the last, stunning page. Thumbs up also to Chris Grabenstein's cleverly structured TILT A WHIRL and Cornelia Read's A FIELD OF DARKNESS. Anthony Bourdain, in DIRTY BITS, writes an introduction in which he self-deprecatingly claims he doesn't have the talent to effectively plunge a reader into the steamy kitchen of an Inuit family who's ravishing (can I use that word for sensuous consumption?) a seal, but he proceeds to dazzle me with his gift for language that mixes equal parts passion, food and testosterone.

I'm also reading a wonderful hoot of a book that's full of heart and wonderfully witty observations about life--THE CINDERELLA PACT--by, oh, some author or other.  (This one proves the wise & witty Ms. Strohmeyer is on her way to the bestseller lists.) Next up for me: THE WHOLE WORLD OVER by Julia Glass, which I would be reading right now---her THE THREE JUNES was incomparable, poignant and heart-rending--but my mother snatched it off my dining room table & stashed it in her beach bag!

From Elaine:  THE VIRGIN OF SMALL PLAINS is Nancy Pickard's newest mystery.  I loved Nancy's lyrical descriptions of the Kansas plains.  Her "Truth" series, set in Florida, was first-rate, but this is even better. An intriguing look at how myths are created.  THE PRAYER FOR THE NIGHT SHEPHERD.  Author Marcia Talley turned me onto this British series by Phil Rickman featuring deliverance consultant Merrily Watkins. That's the term for exorcist in the Church of England. If you're in the mood for a lushly written novel, Rickman's series is perfect.

From SarahNo response. Sarah's madly driving down I-80 on the first day of her book tour for THE CINDERELLA PACT!


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I did finish "Mockingbird - A Portrait of Harper Lee" last night.

Interesting but flawed. Author Charles J. Shields suffers from a lack of understanding of the Southern culture. The best part of the book are the quotes lifted from Harper Lee.

On page 258, Miss lee is quoted;

"Writing is,
in a way,
a contest of knowing,
of seeing the dream,
of getting there,
and of achieving what you set out to do. The simplest way to reach this goal is to simply say what you mean as clearly and precisely as you know how."

Hmmm...my next book will be.....

As if I didn't have enough other books on the I-really-should-read-this list, but these recommendations look really good

Currently reading "Out of Cabrini" by Dave Case, a Chicago cop. Just finished "Rosary Bride" by another Chicago writer, Luisa Buehler. My books are piled on my couch...not getting to the beach any time soon, but cruising to Alaska in August. Taking "Locked Rooms" by Laurie King and "The Innocent" by Coben for the plane ride...there's actually a combo library-coffee shop on the ship :o) Of course I have to read some nonfiction too. Usually history.Made myself a deal...2 fiction, 1 non. Running a little behind on the nons :o)
Trying to write a short story or two as well.
Loved "To Kill A Mockingbird...thanks for the review on the Harper Lee bio, Dave.

Godspeed to Sarah. I-80 can be a real bitch. We'll be heading home on the PA Turnpike tonight in time to see Sarah tomorrow in Pittsburgh, and The Cinderella Pact will be in my hands.

For some really light beach reading with more than a touch of romance, pick up anything by Lori Foster - for those of us with short beach attention spans, she writes in many of the Bad Boys anthologies. Hey, I said they were light.

For a mystery that's funny and entertaining, read Tori Carrington's Sophie Metropolis series: the first is in paper and the second in hardcover.

For something more solid and terrific, if you haven't already read Lisa Scottoline's "Dirty Blonde" or Michele Martinez' "Finishing School", both are more than worth it.

I don't generally admit to envy, but man, do I envy the fast readers of the world, and those with more time on their hands. Ah, well. When the kids grow up and I figure out how to write faster, maybe . . .

P.S. my father-in-law swears by speed reading. Has anyone out there tried it and does it work for reading-for-pleasure, or is it simply a study tool?

Harley, I speed read the newspaper. And remember about a tenth of what I skim. But I'm over 30. In fact, over 40. In absolute fact, I'm---oh, nevermind.

As a reviewer I tend to read three months ahead, but here are some I loved that will be here this summer:
Karen Shepherd's Don't I Know You? is a literary tour de force with a murder and a plot told in three points of view from related and unrelated people involved. Laura Lippman's No Good Deeds features Crow and homeless hustlers in her elegant storytelling style with plenty of suspense and heart.
Marcia Muller's elegant McCone mysteries check in this summer with Vanishing Point and a whodathunkit wedding.
The Venus Fix by M J Rose will stir like none other of her terrific erotic thrillers set in the Butterfield Institute.A jumping off point for much discussion.
Finally, nobody does it like Sandra Scoppettone's been doing for these many decades. The smart and sassy noir mystery set in WWII NYC debuts with This Dame for Hire. Pitch perfect voice!

Mary Alice----more detail on above at www.mysterylovers.com

PS Safe travel Sarah. See you tomorrow.

Thank you, Nancy!

Still slamming on #2 here, but it should be over this week.

If I can stop reading blogs.....

I have a problem reading anything but Dr Sues and Miss Spider lately since it seems when I pick up a book I am ased please read to me. I envy thoes who can read and be left alone. Howeve I know soon I will miss these years so I try and tresure. for now I am trying to read "Bubbles Unbound" and also try to find time to write. I was asked by my husbad once "How can I read more that one book at once?" "I said how can you flip from one show to another and know what's happening on all the chanels?"
I also like to read the Chicken Suop books because I can finish a story before I have to put it down. The Ocean one is a good one.

Glad you liked SACRED COWS, Susan!

I'm in the middle of David Terrenoire's BENEATH A PANAMANIAN MOON, which is super so far, and just finished debut novel SMOKED by Patrick Quinlan, which was an Elmore Leonard-like caper set in Portland, Maine.

I have finally gotten back into my major reading frenzy. I don't speed read as I don't want to miss anything, but do read quickly.

Currently, I am reading Mary Higgins Clark's TWO LITTLE GIRLS IN BLUE. Was given as an early bday present along with the library luncheon where I got to meet Ms. Clark.

Most recently, I have read:
Sarah's THE CINDERELLA PACT was a total hoot, and I hope to do a reread soon. I will be heading to Bethlehem on the 24th.

Lisa Scottoline's DIRTY BLONDE was totally intense and gripping. She livs near me so I tend to go to multiple signings for laughs. She is actually using TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD in her law class!!!

Judith Skillings DRIVEN TO MURDER, third in the series. Bought the first book because of the classic cars (my boyfriend has one), and kept reading because of the interesting storlyline.

As for my TBR pile? I only had about 200 hundred books to go before being caught up, but then went book shopping again! LOL!

Debby ~ the compulsive book buyer!

I just finished DEAD WITCH WALKING by Kim Harrison, and started reading STORM FRONT by Jim Butcher along with the recently released THRILLER: STORIES TO KEEP YOU UP ALL NIGHT an anthology by 32 thriller authors.

I’m listening to THE STUPIDEST ANGEL by Christopher Moore on my ipod. I keep waiting for the weekly Top 40 list of songs to be announced at any moment, since the guy sounds eerily like Casey Kasem.

Thanks Maryann!

I guess I should read "In Cold Blood" now, but I am leaning for something a bit more lighter...tis summer time Y'know!

Glad you like FALSE PROFITS, McB. I just finished reading Jacqueline Winspear's MAISIE DOBBS. It made me cry. I'm looking for a new book, so thanks for all the good suggestions.

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